[Satellite News 05-01-12] The wireless industry added $195.5 billion to the United States’ gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011, and could lead to nearly $1.5 trillion in productivity gains over the next ten years, according to a Recon Analytics
report published May 1.
The study, authored on behalf of CTIA Wireless Association, was just one of several reports issued recently that provided a positive outlook for the robust international telecoms sector. Recon Analytics’ research shows that nearly 4 million U.S.-based jobs were directly or indirectly created by wireless technology and approximately $90 billion in government revenue generated by wireless use in the United States.
Recon Analytics Founder and Study Author Roger Entner said that the wireless industry currently contributes more to the United States’ economic growth than the auto, agriculture, hotel or motion picture industries.
“Any way you measure – by value, jobs, or productivity – wireless is an American growth leader fueled by investment and innovation,” Entner said in the report. “What we have is a perfect storm of breakthrough devices and accelerating investment by network providers as they compete to develop and deploy new generations of wireless infrastructure. The wireless growth surge reflects a powerful combination of innovation by wireless carriers to bring 4G mobile broadband service to consumers, along with device makers and mobile apps developers who are also introducing new technologies to the market.”
The report also describes a correlation between economic growth and the availability of wireless spectrum. Recon Analytics presented historical data that uncovered a significant trend in bandwidth economics – every 10MHz of additional licensed spectrum boosts GDP by more than $1.7 billion and adds 7,000 jobs.
Entner believes that achieving the goals of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) National Broadband Plan would unleash an additional 500 MHz of spectrum into the market over 10 years. “The [economic] benefits of the spectrum plan would multiply 50-fold – totaling $86.5 billion in additional GDP and 350,000 more U.S. jobs by 2022. The U.S. wireless industry is responsible for 3.8 million jobs, directly or indirectly – a gain of approximately 200,000 jobs in the past six years despite a major global recession. The industry added $195.5 billion to the U.S. GDP between July 2010 and June 2011. If that amount were equivalent to a nation's GDP, it would be the 46th ranked economy in the world.”
Elements of the Recon Analytics research show wireless services producing $33 billion in productivity improvements for U.S. businesses in 2011 alone. If the trends featured in the report continue, productivity gains attributable to wireless will total more than $1.4 trillion during the next decade.
“To put this into context, the total wireless industry tax bill was more than the $78.9 billion put aside for the entire U.S. Department of Education,” said Entner. “That’s more than double the $43.1 billion for the U.S. Department of Energy – and almost equivalent to the $89.6 billion allocated to the U.S. Department of Transportation.”
But Entner also warned that these potential growth trends could be stalled by spectrum shortages. “For now, new technologies such as 4G LTE, as well as investment in new towers and other infrastructure are squeezing more capacity from each MHz, but as a matter of physics, existing spectrum can expand only so far,” said Entner. “To keep the growth going, the wireless industry not only needs additional spectrum, but also policies that won't get in the way of critical network investment.”
Other analysis firms also identified parallels between job sector growth and the mobile industry. Mobile Experts Principal Analyst Joe Madden published a report May 1 that forecasted annual mobile device sales of 3 billion by 2017 – a growth rate that should drive 20 billion different bands and operating modes.
“Multi-mode, multi-band handsets and MIMO will drive staggering growth in the number of RF components shipped for mobile devices,” said Madden. “LTE is driving dramatic change. Because LTE frequencies are so fragmentary around the world, and MIMO is used for all LTE devices, the value of RF components in a typical smartphone will grow from $6 to $10 during the next five years.”
The Mobile Experts report surveyed more than 50 companies in order to analyze a majority of the RF front-end market. Madden said he felt that studying only one segment would provide inadequate result, as new technologies are becoming more intertwined. “We have analyzed this market down to individual frequency bands,” he said. “To deal with the huge complexity in RF front ends, mobile OEMs will be introducing multiple new technologies. Multi-mode, multi-band power amplifiers, envelope tracking, antenna and impedance match tuning, CMOS PAs, and uplink MIMO are among the new techniques to squeeze performance out of the handset.”